Da Vinci’s Approach to Conversation Management

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Recently I read Michael J. Gelb’s: Think Like Da Vinci – 7 easy steps to boosting your everyday genius, published already in 1998. According to Michael, who is an accelerated learning expert, the essence of Da Vinci’s genius was his continuous quest for learning, his ability to learn from mistakes and his willingness to change fundamental assumptions and preconceptions. Basically all the ingredients that make up a good Conversation Manager today.

The book is structured around seven aspects of Da Vinci’s way of thinking and promises the reader true personal renaissance. (This last bit really triggered me to actually read the book).

So what would Leonardo’s approach be towards Conversation Management if he would live today? Here are my thoughts, following the 7 Da Vincian Principles:

Curiosità = an insatiably curious approach to life and a quest for continuous learning. With a Da Vinci-like open mind, you will broaden your universe and improve the way you travel through it – both the physical as well as the digital world. I believe you need to keep your knowledge up-to-date and learn new things, since change is accelerating more and more everyday.

Dimostrazione = a commitment to test knowledge through experience, persistence and a willingness to learn from mistakes. You can never learn to play the piano just by reading about it in a book. The same applies to social media. You need to go out there and experience it for yourself. Learn from mistakes, ideally the ones made by others.

Sensazione = the continual refinement of the senses, especially sight, as the means to enliven experience. Quite some people look without actually seeing, having a very narrowed focus. Allow yourself to be inspired in the broadest sense – really everything can be a conversation starter! In the style of Da Vinci, try to use images, sounds and video to enliven your communication.

Sfumato (which literally means going up in smoke) = a willingness to embrace ambiguity, paradox and uncertainty. As change accelerates, illusions of certainty become more difficult to maintain. The ability to thrive with ambiguity is an even more essential skill to modern times. So start small by accepting you simply can’t read all the tweets in your timeline.

Arte/Scienza = the development of the balance between science and art, logic and imagination. It’s balancing analysis and intuition, seriousness and play, planning and improvisation. A trustworthy gut feel is still important, since not everything can be measured – but more and more can be! But remember, it is what you make of the numbers and graphs that counts.

Corporalita = the cultivation of grace, ambidexterity, fitness and poise. Many people associate high intelligence with physical ineptitude. The state of your body influences your mind. In general we forget that we ourselves are the geese which lay the golden eggs. So take care of your own goose, and take a walk after reading this post 😉

Connessione = a recognition of and appreciation for the interconnectedness of all things and phenomena. Leonardo already saw how everything is connected to everything else. Today we are more connected then ever. The possibilities are endless, so explore them with a Da Vinci style open-mind.

May you enjoy your personal renaissance!